The Solar System Gianfranco Gentile Ingredients? ● The Sun ● Planets ● Moons and Rings ● Comets ● Asteroids (size > 100 m) ● Meteoroids (size < 100 m)
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Presentation on theme: "The Solar System Gianfranco Gentile Ingredients? ● The Sun ● Planets ● Moons and Rings ● Comets ● Asteroids (size > 100 m) ● Meteoroids (size < 100 m)"— Presentation transcript:
The Solar System Gianfranco Gentile Ingredients? ● The Sun ● Planets ● Moons and Rings ● Comets ● Asteroids (size > 100 m) ● Meteoroids (size < 100 m) ● Kuiper Belt ● Oort cloud ● Zodiacal dust ● A lot of nearly empty space
Solar System Perspective Zoom out 220 million times ---> Artist’s view or our Galaxy 80,000 light-years 3.2 light-hours
The Structure of the Solar System ~ 45 AU~ 5 AU L4 L5 L3
Orbits of Planets All orbit in same direction. Most orbit in same plane. Elliptical orbits, but low eccentricity for most, so nearly circular.
Exceptions: Mercury Pluto (no longer a planet) orbital tilt 7 o orbital tilt 17.2 o eccentricity 0.21 eccentricity 0.25 (Earth: orbit eccentricity 0.016: nearly circular orbit)
Sun, Planets,our Moon and Pluto to scale (mostly) Mistakes: Jupiter should have rings Pluto should be smaller than Moon
Two Kinds of “Classical” Planets "Terrestrial" Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars "Jovian" Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune Close to the Sun Small Far from the Sun Large Few Moons No Rings Main Elements Fe, Si, C, O, N: we learn that from the spectra Mostly Rocky High Density (3.3 -5.3 g/cm 3 ) reminder: liquid water is 1 g/cm 3 Slow Rotation (1 - 243 days) Mostly Gaseous Low Density (0.7 -1.6 g/cm 3 ) Many Moons Rings Main Elements H, He Fast Rotation (0.41 - 0.72 days)
Dwarf Planets compared to Terrestrial Planets "Terrestrial" Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars Dwarf Planets Pluto, Eris, many others Close to the Sun Small Far from the Sun Very small Few Moons No Rings Main Elements Fe, Si, C, O, N Mostly Rocky High Density (3.3 -5.3 g/cm 3 ) Slow Rotation (1 - 243 days) Rock and Ice Moderate Density (2 - 3 g/cm 3 ) Few Moons No Rings Main Elements Fe, Si, C, O, N And an icy surface Rotation?
Dwarf planets continued Sequence of discovery images of 2003 UB313(aka Eris)
How did the Solar System Form? We weren't there (it was 5 billion years ago). We need a good theory. We can try to check it against other forming solar systems. What must it explain? - Solar system is very flat. - Almost all moons and planets (and Sun) rotate and revolve in the same direction. - Planets are isolated in space. - Terrestrial - Jovian planet distinction. - Leftover junk (comets and asteroids). Not the details and oddities – such as Venus’ and Uranus’ retrograde spin.
Early Ideas René Descartes (1596 -1650) nebular theory: Solar system formed out of a "whirlpool" in a "universal fluid". Planets formed out of eddies in the fluid. Sun formed at center. Planets in cooler regions. Cloud called "Solar Nebula". This is pre-Newton and modern science. But basic idea correct, and the theory evolved as science advanced, as we'll see.
A cloud of interstellar gas The associated dust blocks starlight. Composition mostly H, He. a few light-years, or about 1000 times bigger than Solar System Too cold for optical emission but some radio spectral lines from molecules. Doppler shifts of lines indicate clouds rotate at a few km/s. Clumps within such clouds collapse to form stars or clusters of stars. They are spinning at about 1 km/s.
The Nebular Theory of Planet Formation T star (K) Cloud collapse 10 4 yr Planetary system + debris disk 10 9 yr 10 5 yr 100 AU 10 7 yr L star Main sequence 8,0005,000 10 1 2,000 Protostar+ primordial disk Planet building Beckwith & Sargent
Clicker Question: Which of the following is a Terrestrial planet: A: Jupiter B: Saturn C: Mercury D: Pluto E: Neptune
Clicker Question: In the leading theory of solar system formation, the planets: A: were ejected from the Sun following a close encounter with another star. B: formed from the same flattened, swirling gas cloud that formed the sun. C: were formed before the Sun. D: were captured by the Sun as it traveled through the galaxy.
But why is Solar System flat? Pierre Laplace (1749 - 1827): an important factor is "conservation of angular momentum": When a rotating object contracts, it speeds up. "angular momentum" = (a property of a spinning or orbiting object) mass x velocity x “size” = constant of spin or orbit of spinning object or orbit Well demonstrated by ice skaters...
So, as nebula contracted it rotated faster. Could not remain spherical! Faster rotation tended to fling stuff outwards, so it could only collapse along rotation axis => it became a flattened disk, like a pizza crust. Hubble Space Telescope is seeing these now!
Now to make the planets... Solar Nebula: 98% of mass is gas (H, He) 2% in dust grains (Fe, C, Si...) Condensation theory: 3 steps: 1) Dust grains act as "condensation nuclei": gas atoms stick to them => growth of first clumps of matter. 2) Accretion: Clumps collide and stick => larger clumps. Eventually, small-moon sized objects: "planetesimals". 3) Gravity-enhanced accretion: objects now have significant gravity. Mutual attraction accelerates accretion. Bigger objects grow faster => a few planet-sized objects.
initial gas and dust nebula dust grains grow by accreting gas, colliding and sticking continued growth of clumps of matter, producing planetesimals planetesimals collide and stick, enhanced by their gravity result is a few large planets Hubble Space Telescope observation of disk around young star with ring structure. Unseen planet sweeping out gap?
Terrestrial - Jovian Distinction Jovian solid cores ~ 10-15 M Earth. Strong gravity => swept up and retained large gas envelopes. Outer parts cooler: ices form (but still much gas), also ice "mantles" on dust grains => much more solid material for accretion => larger planetesimals => more gravity => even more material. Inner parts of Solar Nebula hotter (due to forming Sun): mostly gas. Accretion of gas atoms onto dust grains relatively inefficient. Composition of Terrestrial planets reflects that of initial dust – it is not representative of Solar System, or Milky Way, or Universe. Terrestrial planets: Jovian planets:
Asteroid Belt Perhaps a planet was going to form there. But Jupiter's strong gravity disrupted the planetesimals' orbits, ejecting them out of Solar System. The Belt is the few left behind. And Finally... Remaining gas swept out by Solar Wind.
Zodiacal dust Dust particles on the plane of the orbits of the planets. (size: 1 to 300 x 10 -6 m)
Dinosaur Killer Impact 65 million years ago: an asteroid with diameter roughly 10 km High levels of iridium in Raton Pass (I25)
The Fossil Record is Marked by Mass Extinction Events Extinction Genus loss End Ordovician 60% End Devonian 57% End Permian 82% End Triassic 53% End Cretaceous 47% From Solé & Newman 2002
Result from computer simulation of planet growth Shows growth of terrestrial planets. If Jupiter's gravity not included, fifth terrestrial planet forms in Asteroid Belt. If Jupiter's gravity included, orbits of planetesimals there are disrupted. Almost all ejected from Solar System. Simulations also suggest that a few Mars-size objects formed in Asteroid Belt. Their gravity modified orbits of other planetesimals, before they too were ejected by Jupiter's gravity. Asteroid Ida
Clicker Question: We can tell something of the composition of the planets by looking at their: A: spectra B: radius C: mass D: magnetic fields
Clicker Question: An asteroid impact like the one that killed off the dinosaurs is expected once every: A: year B: hundred years C: thousand years D: hundred thousand years E: hundred million years